Masterworks of American Modernism from New York to New Mexico

by Fred Showker

Creative tidbits is a column in DTG Magazine featuring creative inspiration Last winter we told you about "New Photography Acquisitions" exhibit that opened at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum last March. That was a huge success, and they're preparing for the fall with the Vilcek Collection which features more than 60 masterworks of American modernism from early 1910 through the Post-war era --

From New York to New Mexico: Masterworks of American Modernism

new_mexico The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum reveals its latest exhibition from the Vilcek Foundation Collection opening Friday, September 25th, 2015. With more than 60 works, the exhibition represents one of the country's finest collections of American modernism from the period 1910's to the Post-war era.

Organized by the Chief Curator and Curator of American Art at the Philbrook Museum, Catherine Whitney, in cooperation with The Vilcek Foundation, New York City, this is the first time many of these noted Modernist works have been accessible to the public. Jan and Marica Vilcek, both immigrants to the United States from former Czechoslovakia, became interested in American modernism due in part to Marica's art history career at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Dr. Jan Vilcek's interest in collecting, and a shared desire to give back to the country that gave them so much as new immigrants.

The Vilcek Collection reunites three of four important still lifes by Stuart Davis -- painted in 1922. The painter was responsible for the Vilcek's initial foray into American modernism; when in 1990, they purchased a work by Davis entitled Tree (1921) on a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Vilceks credit this acquisition with their "firm, yet not always easy," commitment to Modernism.


The exhibition, which comprises paintings, sculptures and works-on-paper divides the collection into four parts. The first section, "Nature's Great Unfolding" includes the work of Georgia O'Keeffe, Marsden Hartley, Arthur Dove and Max Weber -- the first generation of abstract artists to translate the transcendent qualities of nature into metaphors of color, geometry and line.

The second section of the exhibition, "The Cubist Impulse" explores the aesthetics and philosophical constructs of Cubism as applied to American subjects. Highlights include the aforementioned Stuart Davis still lifes: Still Life with Dial, Still Life, Brown, and Still Life, Red, which the artist described as "rigorously…American."

"Man Made: Town and Country" the exhibition's third section, examines modernist views of structure, industrialization and architecture. Rockefeller Center (1939) by painter Ralston Crawford evidences the construction of Rockefeller Center in New York City.

western_roots Finally "Our Western Roots" locates the Southwest as the inspiration for many of the artworks in the collection. Nearly one third of the Vilcek collection's paintings were painted in New Mexico. In the period after World War I, many New York artists spent time in New Mexico experiencing the landscape, investigating spiritualism, and taking up residence at the Mabel Dodge Luhan art and writer's colony in Taos.

From New York to New Mexico: Masterworks from the Vilcek Foundation Collection captures the unique perspectives of the American modernism movement and provides insight into a group of artists defining American abstraction.

Cody Hartley, Director of Curatorial Affairs at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum said

Quoting  begins The Vilcek Collection is one of the finest collections of American modernism ever gathered. It explores the emergence of America's first truly homegrown, avant-garde art movement. We are pleased to feature this important exhibition that explores a generation of abstract artists who truly made the 20th century an American century Quoting  ends

From New York to New Mexico: Masterworks from the Vilcek Foundation Collection is on view through January 10, 2016.

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And, ... Thanks for reading

Fred Showker

      Editor/Publisher : DTG Magazine
      +FredShowker on Google+ or most social medias @Showker
      Published online since 1988


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ABOUT GEORGIA O'KEEFFE MUSEUM: To inspire all current and future generations, the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum preserves, presents and advances the artistic legacy of Georgia O'Keeffe and modernism through innovative public engagement, education, and research. Opened in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1997, the Museum counts O'Keeffe's two New Mexico homes as part of its extended collection. The Museum's collections, exhibitions, research center, publications and educational programs contribute to scholarly discourse and serve a diverse audience. For more information, please visit

ABOUT THE VILCEK FOUNDATION: The Vilcek Foundation aims to raise public awareness of the contributions of immigrants to the sciences, arts, and culture in the United States. The Foundation was established in 2000 by Jan and Marica Vilcek, immigrants from former Czechoslovakia. The mission of the Foundation was inspired by the couple's respective careers in biomedical science and art history, as well as the personal experiences and appreciation for the opportunities offered to them as newcomers to the United States. The Foundation achieves its mission through hosting immigrant artists and performers at their gallery space in New York City, awarding the annual Vilcek Prizes in the biomedical sciences, arts and humanities, and sponsoring programs such as the Hawaii International Film Festival. For additional information, visit

ABOUT THE PHILBROOK MUSEUM: The Philbrook Museum of Art, located in Tulsa Oklahoma, has grown to be one of the preeminent art museums across the central United States. The Philbrook campus spans 23 acres of grounds and formal gardens, and features a historic home displaying the museum's permanent collection, as well as an architectural additional with auditorium, restaurant, library and educational studios. The satellite location in downtown Tulsa showcases Philbrook's modern and contemporary collections.

ABOUT THE FALL OF MODERNISM:The Fall of Modernism is a citywide collaboration that runs from September 11, 2015 through January 17, 2016, that celebrates the Modernist art movement. It is anchored by the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum and its exhibition, From New York to New Mexico: Masterworks of American Modernism from the Vilcek Foundation Collection, along with the New Mexico Museum of Art's exhibition, Georgia O'Keeffe in Process. Numerous art galleries in Santa Fe will showcase Modernist art with exhibitions, programming, and events.

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